Number – 1761
Name – Speedboat
Theme – Town
Subtheme - Paradisa
Year – 1995
Minifigs – 1
Pieces – 21
Price – Bought for €6.50 EURO (£5.11 GBP, $8.02 USD) on BrickLink, although available for much less.
Back in the olden days, there weren't polybags, but themes still produced dinky little impulse sets, just like this one. This is part of the much beloved Paradisa theme, which was all about fun and frolics by the seaside; a paradise resort for hedonists. The seaside theme was prevalent in a number of the sets, and it's no surprise it has spilled over here to this little box. As part of the Reviewers Academy 4th Anniversary, I'll be taking a look at this little set that encapsulates Paradisa in a nutshell.
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, Peeron.
The box is really dinky; its dimensions are 7x7x4.7cm, but despite being more diminutive than others of its kind, it still has all the detailing one might expect from a Paradisa set. There is an action shot of the model itself, which also shows off the minifigure that's included. The LEGO, SYSTEM and Paradisa logos are prominently displayed, however the set number is almost shy. As with other Paradisa sets, the background to the model is a dreamy sunset by the seaside, depicted in pastel hues. *deep sigh*
Just like any other Paradisa set box, there are alternative builds depicted on the back. In such a tiny model as this, you really could forgive TLG for eschewing some alternative builds, just this once, but no! There are actually three alternative builds shown, and I suspect that if the box had been bigger, there probably would have been more.
As we move round to look at the box from other angles, we begin to see the bright Paradisa pink appearing. The top of the box has an old shop sticker still attached in relatively good condition, and I believe the writing to be Dutch. According to my best Dutch source, the 'Spaar bij Shell' apparently refers to a points collection scheme, presumably redeemable for discounts at stores, and the blue portion translates into something like: “Stick the yellow sticker to the savings card and claim 20 guilders discount at Speelboom, Wigwam and Vroom & Dreesmann”. Having old stickers present doesn't detract from the box for me at all, in fact I really like having them. It makes me think back to how the set might have been sold and induces a warm feeling of nostalgia.
Yet more Paradisa pink on the back of the box, and a short declaration that everything was made and distributed by TLG back then. Not that I personally mind where my LEGO comes from.
And let's not focus on the boring (but necessary) safety information on the left of the box, but rather drink in the pink, and note the very small '1761' at the top right - almost unnoticeable.
The right side of the box, though, has a repeat of the charming action picture of our girl on her speedboat against the sumptuous pastel backdrop of Paradisa.
The Box Contents
Inside the box there’s a little polybag with nearly all the parts in it. It’s one of those old fashioned polybags with the circular perforations, allowing the LEGO to ‘breathe’, although goodness knows why. There’s also three 1x6 Paradisa pink plates, and of course, an instruction booklet. I don’t understand why the plates aren’t included in the polybag; it’s not as if there isn’t room, but they aren’t. The instruction booklet has a picture of one of the alternative models as its main picture, not a picture of the build on the front of the box (main build), which is strange.
The instructions fold out into a double sided page, and the requirements for building on the first page are really rather simple. It merely shows you how to assemble the minifig, and how to build the entire base of the boat in the first three steps. This does not appear to be challenging or time consuming. You need not fear trying to build the model on carpet, nor fear mixing all the parts together, just pick up a couple of pieces and build.
The reverse side of the instructions has a whopping four further steps to finish the boat. Admittedly there are a couple of insets showing you how to put a couple of the pieces together, like the hinge pieces, and how to construct the outboard motor, but it’s clear this isn’t a complicated build. The soothing pastel tones of the background are typically Paradisa, and complement the colours of the parts; speaking of which…
There really aren’t many parts at all. The parts we do have are limited to white, old light grey, Paradisa pink and a little black thrown in for detail. The parts themselves are mostly inverted slopes for building the body of the boat, but while there are a few useful bits and pieces, even more so if you’re a fan of the older colours, there’s nothing particularly rare here.
The minifig included in this set is pretty much Paradisa girl #1. Her face (which some hate, but I quite like) has been in no fewer than 84 sets, which is a not insignificant number. Her torso has been in far fewer (8 sets) but it’s still not exactly rare, although it is a pretty pink blouse with printed blue flowers and printing to show it is tied at the bottom. The white legs are so generic they barely warrant mention, and similarly with the black pony tail hair. The life jacket is also rather unremarkable, appearing as it has in 100 sets.
There’s no printing on the back of the torso, which is the only place you might expect some, thus rendering the rear view of our girl decidedly… unexciting.
The life jacket fits well, and she doesn’t look odd wearing it. Now she’s ready to take to the open water, so we’d better get her boat ready.
It’s pretty clear from when we were looking at the instructions that this is a rather simple build, producing a rather simple boat. It does, however, have everything a boat needs, namely a rounded underside, a prow with a steering wheel and a stern with an outboard motor. What more do you need?
From the back it’s a little more obvious that the outboard motor is constructed from the 1x2 light grey brick with the black hinge bar attached. The model itself is sleek and looks speedy, and the styling is typically Paradisa – white with pink accents. There are no seats, but who’d be sitting down as they roar through the water?
As our girl walks towards the boat, you can see that the outboard motor is attached to the hinge piece, making it a realistic movable part. It folds into the speedboat in a similar manner to a real life outboard motor (from the little I know of outboard motors ), and the one stud connection to the white jumper plate on top of the hinge allows the ‘motor’ (1x2 grey brick) to swivel and thus act as a rudder.
If you remember back to the reverse of the box, true to Paradisa style there are a few alternative builds shown there, two of which I have created here for your delectation. Or not, as the case may be. The first such construction is of a sort of jetski, and it is believable as such. The white jumper plate shouldn’t be on the hinge piece; I just forgot to remove it, but I’m sure you get the gist of the model.
Actually, considering how few pieces are used, and that they are exclusively from this tiny little set, it’s quite a sweet little model. It’s clear what it’s meant to be and it’s kinda cute.
The second alternative build is a little more left-field. It appears to be some sort of water-slidey thing, although why it has a handle is anyone’s guess. Again it’s sweet, but not something I’d keep built.
The view from the back offers no further clues as to what this might be, but it does give you a further idea of how it is constructed. Overall, it’s a bit odd, really.
Design: 7/10 It looks like a speedboat, albeit a very simple and straightforward one, and that's pretty much the point. It's not very complicated, or detailed, but it's a small set. I like the hinged outboard motor, even if it is only a minor moving part, but it is a nice detail. The alternative builds are cute at best and slightly weird at worst. I appreciate that they're there and have oft commented that I wish they would return.
Parts: 6/10 This is a small set, so there aren't many parts to begin with, but those that are here aren't hugely exciting, really. There's a small selection of old grey and Paradisa pink, and interestingly the extra parts for this set are a 1x1 plate and a 1x6 plate, both in Paradisa pink. It's not exactly a parts pack, even if you were hoarding old colours.
Minifigs: 6/10 Our Paradisa girl is unfortunately quite prevalent. She's far from original, and verging on ubiquitous. So many people dislike the old Paradisa face, that I can't see that being a draw for this set. I actually like her face, but I have a few, and although I also really like the printed pink blouse with the pretty blue flowers, I have a few of those too.
Build: 7/10 It's not by any means a challenging build. It takes only a minute or so to build the boat, and there isn't really anything exciting or unexpected. You probably don't even need to look at the instructions to build the boat. Or even study the picture on the front of the box really, as there aren't too many ways to put these pieces together, no matter what the alternative builds imply. Having the alternative builds is always a pleasure, and as is often the way, the most fun comes from piecing together those crazy ideas, but even here the alternatives are slightly lacklustre. Maybe I'm expecting too much from a small set.
Playability: 6/10 Uhm, it's swooshable! And it would fit extremely well into an existing Paradisa scene, but really there's not much to do aside from that. Girly can move the motor around, I guess. And maybe take her life jacket on and off again. And... she can be swooshed on the jetski...
Price: 5/10 I paid faaaar too much for this little set. Far, far too much. But really that's something I can only now appraise in retrospect. The original price listing is lost in the mists of time (at least as far as I can determine), but I hope it was really cheap, or possibly free (in the same way that we have polybags given away these days sometimes). I am very shocked that the most expensive prices on BrickLink are in the region of £11 to £12 (around $20 USD).
This is a cute little model and it really would fit perfectly into a Paradisa sea scene as an additional feature, and I like it very much for that. That said, it's a very small set, with very few parts, and I'm slightly sour from paying so much for it. There's not much to do with it once it's built unless you already have a Paradisa scene built, and while it's a pleasant enough model, it's not really a display piece. Even when parting it out, there's not much to be gleaned, unless, as I've said, you're trying to collect old colours. Not even the sweet minifig adds much spice to the set, and will likely look much like all the other girlies in a Paradisa scene. It's nice, it's fun, it's nostalgic, but it's unfortunately not very exciting. Thank goodness some of the other Paradisa sets (and their alternative builds) are.
Thank you for reading, comments are always very welcome. High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.